Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Posts from 2014

Starting at #10, here are the "He Holds My Right Hand" Top 10 Posts of 2014.




 #Book Review:  Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe




It looks as if the ONLY giveaway post I did in 2014 was the most popular one. So, in 2015, I plan on posting a few more giveaways that are faith-filled and/or family friendly. Be watching for them!

Runner-up posts that were very close to making this list: 

 Thanks for reading, and have a great 2015! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

HYMN: Be Thou My Vision

I have been praying about which topics I should write about in 2015, and have decided to take a break from posting hymn studies every Sunday. I will still write about them as I feel led, but it won't be on a weekly basis anymore. Today, though, I want to finish out this year with one more hymn - one that has words which reflect the desires of my heart, and hopefully reflects yours as well:  BE THOU MY VISION.  

In my search for this hymn, I found a beautiful version of it sung by a contemporary Christian group called Selah. I love their music, but I had never heard this song sung by them before now. It has an Irish tone to it, which I absolutely love! (It makes sense, since the author was from Ireland, and the melody is a traditional Irish melody.) But, the words... oh, the words... they are a prayer to the Lord... a prayer we should all consider praying as we head into the new year. The words to this hymn share: 

  • A desire for the Lord to be our vision - that in whatever we do, day or night, we will  try to see things through His eyes and do what He wants us to do.
  • That He is more important than anything else in this world.
  • A request for wisdom. If we would all ask for wisdom before we speak, or before we act, what a difference it could make in this world!
  • Confidence and trust, knowing He is always there with us.
  • The focus of a relationship with Him rather than the desire for earthly treasures.
  • The desire for Christ to be glorified in our lives, that whatever happens, others will see Jesus in us.

What a great prayer! Click on the link below to listen to this song and, if you feel led (and I hope you do), pray this prayer as you listen.What better goal to have for the new year than to develop a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our Lord, seeking His wisdom and guidance, and striving to see things through His eyes. 

Sung by:  SELAH 

Irish Traditional Melody
Translated into English by:  Mary E. Byrne in 1905
Completed in 1912 into the modern-day hymn by: Eleanor H. Hull


Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father and I, Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart;
O King of glory, my treasure Thou art.

O King of glory, my victory won;
Rule and reign in me ’til Thy will be done;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall;
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

You can learn more about the hymn and its history at http://be-thou-my-vision.com/

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Poll Question for 2015 Blog Topics

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I wanted to pop in for a brief moment to ask for your help on something. Consider it your Christmas gift to me.

As the new year approaches, I am contemplating which topics this blog should focus on in 2015. Could you do me a favor and answer the poll question that you will see in the left column? It will help me out a great deal, as it will give me an idea of which topics you have enjoyed reading, as well as which topics I could add. [UPDATE:  Poll Closed]

If you have a different idea for me other than what is already listed, please share in the comments section below. 

I enjoy writing on this blog, and I'm not overly concerned about how many are reading it. I just want it to be a blessing to those who ARE reading it.

Thank you very much! Enjoy your holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

God Gave Us Angels (Book Review)

Angels are fascinating to us humans. We may have different ideas of what angels looks like, and what their purpose is, but we can all agree that angels are beautiful, Heavenly beings created by God.

My husband teaches a class about angels and has done some extensive Biblical research on the topic. Based on what I have learned from his class, it is apparent that Lisa Tawn Bergren, the author of a new children's book "God Gave Us Angels," has done her research on this subject as well. She answers many of the questions that children (and even adults) have had about angels, including:
  • What do angels do all day?
  • What do they look like?
  • Do they have halos?
  • Do we have guardian angels?
  • Should we pray to angels?
  • Do angels sing?
  • Will we become angels when we die?
  • Why did God create angels?
  • Can we see angels?

Aimed at children ages 3-8, this book is a good foundation for teaching little ones about God's special messengers. The book is a great educational tool. The only thing I think it could use is some Scriptural references for parents to look up and read. For example, on one page of the book it says "we should be nice to everyone we meet, because some might be angels in disguise."  It would be good to have Hebrews 13:2 listed at the bottom of the page, or referenced in the back of the book, as the verse shares where this information can be found in God's Word.

Hebrews 13:2 - Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (NIV)

Other than that, I love the book and would definitely recommend it.

NOTE:  I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

CHRISTMAS HYMN: Who Is He in Yonder Stall?


Benjamin R. Hanby was born in Ohio in 1833. The son of a preacher who spoke about the evils of slavery, he wrote one of America's greatest antislavery ballads, "Darling Nelly Gray," but he was at his happiest when he was writing Sunday School songs for children. He took a special interest in children, and in music. Tragically, he lost his life to Tuberculosis in 1867 when he was 34 years old. About a year before that, this hymn was published. It is a Christmas hymn that doesn't just cover the birth of Jesus, or the shepherds, or the angels, or the wisemen. It goes much deeper and covers the life of Jesus from Bethlehem to Galilee. It gives us the full story of the Christ child and explains WHY he came to earth. He wasn't just a cute little baby lying in a manger. He was born to be the King - the Savior - of the world.

Psalm 24:10 - Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty - he is the King of glory. (NIV)

Who is He in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?

'Tis the Lord! oh wondrous story!
'Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall;
Crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Who is He the people bless
For His words of gentleness?
Who is He to Whom they bring
All the sick and sorrowing?


Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?


Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?


Who is He that from the grave
Comes to succor, help and save?
Who is He that from His throne
Rules thro' all the world alone?

Merry Christmas!

Succor: Something that you do or give to help someone who is suffering or in a difficult situation


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Life With A Capital L - Matt Heard

Last month, I was searching through BLOGGING FOR BOOKS looking for a new book to review. As I searched, I came across a book by author MATT HEARD.

I knew that name. I knew a Matt Heard when my family and I attended Highroad Bible Church in Lockport, IL. I was a teenager then, and he was our pastor. Was this the same Matt Heard? It had been years since I had heard from him and his wife, Arlene.

I looked the name up on Facebook and found someone who looked like the Matt I knew. He was hard to miss with his red hair. Then, from his FB page, I saw a link to his WEBSITE.  The website talked about a new book, "Life With A Capital L." It was the same book I saw on the Blogging For Books site. So, yes, the Matt Heard who wrote this book is the same Matt Heard I knew as a teen. How fun! So, I snagged a copy of the book, and have been reading it for the past month.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I had a hard time getting into this book. Its hard to explain, but I'm guessing its just not the style of writing that I connect best with. I did, however, connect with chapter 4, and believe it to be the heart of the book. In chapter 4, Matt conveys how our notion of "eternal life" usually puts us in Heaven before we are allowed to experience it. Matt explains that, when a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, THAT is when his/her eternal life begins (pp. 44-45). Understanding eternal life in this way is when we can truly experience life here on earth.

Matt uses stories, personal experiences, Bible references, paintings, and words from other authors to help him express the ideas in this book. Things like: Life is everywhere. We can find good even in the midst of tragedy. Embracing humanity means going beyond merely existing and actually engaging in life. Our longings define us. Our ultimate longing should be for eternal life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:12).

To summarize with one short sentence:  It is important for us to realize our need for Christ, and to act on it, if we desire to truly experience life here on earth - Life with a capital L.

Thanks goes to Blogging for Books for my review copy of this book. In exchange, I have expressed my opinion.

CHRISTMAS HYMN: What Child Is This?


William Chatterton Dix wrote over 40 hymns in the course of his life, including several Christmas carols. He was the son of a surgeon and author, and grew up to be the manager of a marine insurance company in Scotland. But, his heart was in the written word - the poetry of worship.

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, we can be thankful for the hymns that help us focus on the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, including this one written by Dix...

Words by:  William C. Dix, 1865
Music:  16th Century English Melody, Greensleeves

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Luke 2:7 - And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How My Mastectomy Has Affected Me

A "Get Well Soon" plant from my parents.
It was waiting for me when I arrived home after surgery.

It was December 11, 2012 - two years ago today. David and I woke up that chilly morning, left our children with my mom, and headed to the hospital where I had a life-altering surgery to remove my right breast. I honestly don't remember much of that day, and I wish I had written out my thoughts on it, but I guess I didn't feel the need to write about it at that time. Or, maybe I just didn't want to face it, the idea of losing a breast.

As I think back now, I do remember I had a mixture of feelings that are hard to put into words. For the most part, I was just thinking about what was best for my health. I wanted the cancer out, and losing a breast didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. But, I also remember being very concerned about what my husband would think. Of course, he told me he was only concerned about my health, but I still wondered how he would handle the loss. He, in turn, was wondering how I would handle the loss.

To be honest, there was an adjustment period, and I would be lying if I said it hasn't affected me. After all, the surgery has changed the appearance of my body, there's no doubt about that! And, yes, there were times when it made me feel like less of a woman, I will admit it. But, along with the adjustment process, I have also experienced some positive changes. Internal rather than external. Let me share with you what I've discovered since my surgery:

  • It has caused me to try and eat healthier and to exercise. I'm still struggling with this, but I'm trying.
  • It allowed me to feel the love of others which was poured out on me and my family during the recovery process. 
  • It has given me insight into the needs of those who are recovering from surgery or illness. 
  • It has caused me to sympathize more with others who have battled, or are currently battling cancer of any kind.
  • It has helped give me more confidence in who I am as a person.
  • It has made me realize there are more important things in life than the loss of a body part. 
  • It has helped me to feel closer to my husband, who has never said anything negative about the way I look. In fact, he still says I am beautiful.
  • It has made me re-evaluate my life and focus on the the truly important things. 
  • It has made me stronger in my walk with the Lord.

So, it's all good! I honestly have no regrets. I know I do not have a perfect body. (That would be the case even without having a mastectomy!) But, I am comforted in knowing my God is continually working in me and, hopefully, through me, until that day when I will be made perfect in heaven.

Philippians 3:12-14 - Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Micah 5:2 - "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

A traditional French Carol
Translated into English by George K. Evans in 1963

He is born, the holy Child,
Play the oboe and bagpipes merrily!
He is born, the holy Child,
Sing we all of the Savior mild.

Through long ages of the past,
Prophets have foretold His coming;
Through long ages of the past,
Now the time has come at last!


O how lovely, O how pure
Is this perfect Child of heaven;
O how lovely, O how pure
Gracious gift to humankind!


Jesus, Lord of all the world,
Coming as a Child among us,
Jesus, Lord of all the world,
Grant to us Thy heavenly peace.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

HYMN: Hidden Peace

Today's hymn talks about the peace we can have when we know Christ and are abiding in Him. John S. Brown wrote this hymn in 1899. It is one of two that is known to be written by him, but there is no other information.

The hymn goes along with a blog post I wrote five years ago about a woman who wanted to know, "Where is the peace Christians talk about? What would it be like if I ever did have it?" You can read that old blog post here:


Also, read through the hymn below and you will see how it coincides with that old post. 

Words by:  John S. Brown
Music by:  L.O. Brown

I cannot tell thee whence it came,
This peace within my breast;
But this I know, there fills my soul
A strange and tranquil rest. 

 There’s a deep, settled peace in my soul,
There’s a deep, settled peace in my soul,
Tho’ the billows of sin near me roll,
He abides, Christ abides.

Beneath the toil and care of life,
This hidden stream flows on;
My weary soul no longer thirsts,
Nor am I sad and lone.


I cannot tell the half of love,
Unfeigned, supreme, divine,
That caused my darkest inmost self
With beams of hope to shine.


I cannot tell thee why He chose
To suffer and to die,
But if I suffer here with Him
I’ll reign with Him on high.


Philippians 4:7 - And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (NIV)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Graham Blanchard Learn, Absorb & Praise™ Board Books Set [Giveaway CLOSED]

Graham Blanchard Publishing Company, located in Austin, Texas, celebrated their first birthday on October 1, 2014. They specialize in board books that help parents teach their young children about God, and their books fall into three unique categories: Learn, Absorb & Praise™. 

LEARN books explore God's Word by weaving key passages with a child’s life. 

ABSORB books encompass the facts about God and help children understand what a relationship with God is like. 

PRAISE books celebrate the wonders of God that children experience every day.

In honor of Graham Blanchard's birthday, they launched The Learn, Absorb & Praise™ Classic Collection. This is a gift set of 3 titles, including Jesus Shows Me (from the “Knowing My God” Series), All of Me That You Can’t See, and Mud Puddle Hunting Day.

I was given the opportunity to offer a giveaway of one of these sets on my blog, and am thrilled to be able to do this. These books could make a good Christmas gift for some special little ones in your life. So, if you would like to enter for a chance to win, just follow the instructions on the entry form below. (NOTE: Each action is optional, but you will need to complete at least one action in order to be entered.)

The entries will close at 11:00 p.m. (Central Time) on December 1st.


Linked up with:

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

HYMN: Great is Thy Faithfulness


Today's hymn, GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS, is a special hymn to me and my husband, David for various reasons...
1.  It is David's favorite hymn. 
2.  It is the hymn our family and friends all sang together at our wedding.

3.  It is the theme song of the college we attended in Chicago:  Moody Bible Institute.  It was sung at many school functions and, let me tell you, hearing the echoing voices sing this hymn in a large auditorium, or at Moody Church, is something neither of us will ever forget.
So, yes, it is a special hymn to us. But, there is another reason that makes it special. Have you ever paid attention to the words? They are based on Lamentations 3:22-23:

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

What an encouraging verse! It tells us how loving our God is, and how faithful He is to those who trust in Him. It tells us our God cares about us, and will bless us on a daily basis, if we only take the time to look for those blessings.

The author of the poem-turned-hymn is Thomas Obadiah Chisholm. He was born in Franklin, KY, in a log cabin, became a teacher at the age of 16, accepted the Lord as his Savior in his late twenties, and became a Pastor at the age of 36. This poem/hymn came from his desire to express the faithfulness of God in his life - as well as in ALL of our lives...

Words by:  Thomas O. Chisholm - 1923
Music by:  William M. Runyan

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided --
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! 



Sunday, November 16, 2014

HYMN: How Great Thou Art

My father-in-law's favorite hymn is HOW GREAT THOU ART, which is a classic, popular hymn loved by many. 'Dad' has been involved with the Boy Scouts for many years, and is an obvious lover of the outdoors, so I can see why he likes this hymn. The words are so descriptive and magnificent. They give a musical picture of the great outdoors, and of the world our God created. 

The words were originally written by Rev. Carl Boberg, a Swedish Lutheran minister, in 1885. It is believed he was inspired by the beauty of his homeland.

Stuart Hine, a missionary who was serving in the Ukraine, came across the Russian translation of the hymn in 1927. He sang it in Russian for a few years, then translated 3 verses into English. Then, during WWII, he returned to England and took the translated hymn with him. Its popularity grew in 1948 when a 4th verse was added and the hymn was published in a religious magazine published by Hine. Then, in 1954, it was sung by the famous gospel singer, GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA, which increased its popularity even more.

Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Original words by:  Rev. Carl Boberg
English translated version: Stuart K. Hine
Music:  Swedish folk melody

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed,

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;


And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin;


When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!



Friday, November 14, 2014

GOOD NEWS: EL's Lab Tests Were Normal

Last week, I posted about EL's BLADDER PROBLEM.  Since then, we received the order from her Endocrinologist to have a urinalysis done, collected it, took it to a local lab, and the doc called the next day with results. Everything was normal! Her Calcium was fine, she is not diabetic, and everything else pointed towards a normal Vasopressin level. This is great news because it means the pituitary tumor is NOT causing any problems. We're so thankful for that and, most likely, she won't need another brain MRI for at least a year from now. The Lord is good.

Unfortunately, EL is still having frequent bathroom breaks, and we don't know why. So, her Pediatrician will be referring us to a Urologist soon. I think we will be able to stick closer to home for this appointment, so that will make things easier.

Thanks for your prayers. I'll update again after we have seen the Urologist.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Own Domain Name

I don't know why its taken me so long to do this, but I finally purchased my own domain name for this blog.  If you remember, the address used to be pretty long. It used to be: http://he-holds-my-right-hand.blogspot.com. And, unless I wrote it down for someone or sent the link in an e-mail, I always had to say "he, dash, holds, dash, my, dash, right, dash, hand, dot blogspot dot com." Talk about awkward! Ugh! It was okay for a start, but I've learned a lot since starting this blog over 5 years ago, and it was time for a change.

That led me to start researching which company to use for my new domain name. There are so many out there now, its a daunting task! As I searched, I read many reviews that said the best option for domain names is GoDaddy. But, as I searched further, I also found many reviewers who were NOT pleased with Go Daddy, mostly due to extra fees they don't tell you about. So, I decided to go with a newer company that has all good reviews from what I've found so far: NameSilo.com

I purchased my new domain name from them, then followed their detailed instructions to have it transferred to my current blog. It was quite a challenge for me, since I had never done anything like that before, and it took up an evening of my time. But, by following their INSTRUCTIONS step by step, it eventually got done, and I didn't even need to contact their support staff. I'm rather proud of myself! 

THE NEW ADDRESS IS:  www.heholdsmyrighthand.com

There are no more dashes between the words, and "blogspot" is no longer mentioned in the name. It just uses the title of this blog as the address, and is simple and to the point. I'm happy about it.

The nice thing is, if anyone types in the old address, it will be redirected to the new address. So, you will still get here no matter which address is used.

If you are interested in doing your own research about NameSilo, to compare them with other domain registrars, here are some links to get you started:


NAME SILO REVIEW - October 2013 

NAME SILO REVIEW - October 2012 



Sunday, November 9, 2014

HYMN: My Country 'Tis of Thee

With Veteran's Day coming up on Tuesday, I think this patriotic hymn is a fitting one to focus on for this Sunday. It was written in 1831 by Samuel F. Smith while he was a theological student studying in Germany. It only took him 30 minutes to write the words (and the music came from the melody of the United Kingdom's national anthem.)

The hymn was first performed at an Independence Day celebration in 1831, and was later sung as one of America's national anthems before "The Star Spangled Banner" was adopted in 1931.

Thank you to all the Veterans who have served our country and sacrificed your time for our freedom. God bless you all!

Words by Samuel Francis Smith 

My country, 'tis of thee, 
Sweet land of Liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim's pride!
From ev'ry mountain side,
Let freedom ring!

My native country thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom's song.
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Author Fair in Charleston, IL

I am excited to announce the publication of my new book:  A Picnic Snack.

The book is currently available through LuLu.com for $14.95 plus shipping. If you order by November 11th, you can use a coupon code to get FREE SHIPPING. The code is:  HSQ2.

If you will be anywhere near the Charleston, IL area tomorrow (Sunday, November 9th), please stop by the Charleston Carnegie Public Library between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. for their first "Friends of the Library Author Fair." My family and I will be there with a table, presenting my two books: What is Communion? and A Picnic Snack.

This event is open to the public and is free of charge. Over a dozen Central IL authors are planning to be on hand with their books available for purchase and signing. (Note:  I will not have any of "A Picnic Snack" on hand for purchase tomorrow, but will have a sample copy available to browse through and you will be able to place an order.) This could be a great opportunity to get some of your Christmas shopping started! We would love to see you there!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

EL's 4th MRI and A Bladder Problem

EL getting ready for her 4th MRI
Our last update on EL was in August, and we had good reports from her doctors at that time. Since then, thankfully nothing has changed except for one thing - there has been a major increase in her going to the bathroom. We have seen her regular Pediatrician twice for this issue, and it has been determined she does not have a bladder infection, and is not in any pain (that we know of). She has also been given a mild laxative to help keep the urinary tract from being blocked. The Pediatrician said, if things do not improve, she would refer us to a Urologist. That may still need to happen but, last week, we took another trip to St. Louis and found out some interesting news related to this problem. It COULD be related to her pituitary tumor.

At last week's visit, we took EL for a follow-up MRI (EL's 4th one so far), followed by  two doctor appointments -  one with the Endocrinologist, and one with the Neuro-Oncologist. Things went well with the MRI. EL has matured a lot over this past year since her last MRI and, although she did not like being there, she cooperated very well. I'm thankful for the prayers of family and friends that I know helped her get through this difficult time. The worst part of it all was when they did the needle stick in her arm to put in the IV. But, she did not need Versed to calm her down beforehand. In the past, Versed has tended to make her REALLY grumpy while she was coming out of sedation, so I'm glad we didn't have to deal with that this time. 

After the MRI, we saw the Endocrinologist. He asked us if anything has changed since we last saw him. We told him the only thing that has changed is how EL seems to be constantly in the bathroom. The Endocrinologist informed us the pituitary gland could be a causative factor in increased urination. We did not know that! Apparently, the pituitary gland makes a hormone known as Vasopressin, which regulates the body's retention of water.  A deficiency in Vasopressin (which can happen with a pituitary tumor) causes frequent urination and thirst. These are symptoms EL has been having. So, the doctor ran a urinalysis while we were there. It was not concentrated enough to get the answers we need, so we are waiting for an order to come in the mail to have a morning collection done. Once we get that done, and get those results, we will know more. If there is no problem with the Vasopressin, then a Urologist may still be in order. I did, however, just recently find out there are two close family members who were diagnosed with a spastic (or overactive) bladder! Hmmmmm. Makes me wonder if that is what is going on with EL. Its hard to know, since she isn't able to communicate as effectively as needed.

The last appointment was with the Neuro-Oncologist. I'm happy to report there were NO CHANGES to the MRI! This is such great news. It means the pituitary tumor has not grown, praise the Lord, and the doctor does not recommend any treatment at this time. We are not sure yet when the next MRI will be. It could be a year from now, or it could be in 6 months. That will be determined once we get the next urinalysis results. I'll let you know how things turn out. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"In His Presence" by Alec Rowland

I asked for a copy of Alec Rowland's book, "The Presence" for my next book review because I was curious to know what he meant by the subtitle of "experiencing more of God." What I found is that the book's main focus is not about having supernatural experiences, but on the revival of a Christian's spiritual life. Its about renewing our relationship with Him; about having a closer walk with God who is still alive and active in our world today, even though we don't always "feel" His presence.

http://www.amazon.com/Presence-Experiencing-More-God/dp/1414387245/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1411934125&sr=8-1&keywords=the+presenceOn page 69 of the book, the author encourages us to look at our own lives and ask some important questions: "What will motivate me to actively share with others the story of my relationship with Jesus? What will make me want to pray? What will motivate me to dig into the Bible and truly study the Word of God with an eye toward having my life changed? What will infuse my worship with a deep and authentic hunger for God's presence? The only answer is a restored (revived) love for God."

The author uses personal stories/experiences of revival in his own life, as well as in the lives of others, to help motivate us in our Christian walk; to be on a mission to become more Christ-like. In that sense, it has very good things to say and I think it could be a decent book to help with Bible study conversations.

The book did seem rather long to me, though, and not super engaging. I guess that's why it took me so long to finally write a review (2 months), because it took me so long to finish the book.  But, overall, I found the book to be inspiring, and somewhat entertaining at times. 

NOTE:  Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

HYMN: Rock of Ages


There are many hymns that have been written around the Lord being our rock. Here are just a few of them (click on each title to see the words):
But, I think the most popular of all the hymn that speak about our "Rock" is the classic hymn Rock of Ages, written by Augustus M. Toplady in 1776. The words to this hymn came to him when he was taking refuge among some limestone rocks in England, during a violent thunderstorm. The rocks kept him safe from the storm. Likewise, trusting in the Lord gives us great confidence in knowing we can take refuge among the strongest Rock of all - Jesus Christ.

Words by:  Augusts M. Toplady - 1776 
Music by:  Thomas Hastings

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
[originally When my eye-strings break in death]
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

HYMN: Make Me A Blessing / Be A Blessing Today

Let's go back to October 2009, five years ago. It was towards the beginning of cold and flu season, and I wrote a post that gave several suggestions on how to be a blessing to those who are not feeling well. Check out that blog post here:

Along with that blog post, I also included a hymn that was written by Ira B. Wilson in 1905. The original title of the hymn was "Out in the Highways and Byways of Life" but it has since been changed to "Make Me A Blessing." This hymn will be our hymn of focus for this Sunday.

I wasn't able to find any information about this hymn, other than the author being a composer who was taught music at home by his sister, and later became a student at The Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

I like the hymn because it reminds me to let my light shine so that others will see Jesus in me.

Matthew 5:16 -  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

(click on the title above to hear the tune)

Words by Ira B. Wilson
Music by George S. Schuler

Out in the highways and byways of life,
many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
making the sorrowing glad.
Make me a blessing,
Make me a blessing,
Out of my life
May Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O savior, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.
Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love;
Tell of His pow'r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
true ev'ry moment you live.
Give as 'twas given to you in your need;
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed;
Unto your mission be true.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Picnic Snack - An Introduction to My New Book Project

Here's a sneak peak at the new book project I've been working on.  I'm excited to say its almost ready for publication, but still needs a couple finishing touches. I am hoping to have it available to the public by the 1st of November (maybe sooner!) In the meantime, you are probably wondering what this book is about.

The new book is geared towards the younger crowd - children in the 3-8 developmental age range, but older children may enjoy it also. It is called, "A Picnic Snack," and is based on a fun experience I had when I was a little girl living in the small town of Manito, IL. My neighborhood friends and I often played outside together, and I can remember more than one occasion when we all brought snacks from home to share with everyone else.

The two main ideas of the book are "sharing with friends" and "thanking God for our food." My niece, Carolyn, drew the illustrations, and she did a great job for her debut in the publishing world. I enjoyed working with her on this.

I am using the same company I used for my first book, and will be sure to let you know when it is available to the public.

Stay tuned!  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

HYMN: Day By Day / Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle?

I'm going to use two of my old posts to talk about today's hymn. First, click over to this post I wrote three years ago: 

Then, come back here to read more about the hymn below...

2 Corinthians 12:9 -  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

By: Karolina Sandell
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Ev'ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in ev'ry tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting;
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

To read about the author's meaning behind this hymn, click here to another post I wrote four years ago:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

HYMN: There's A Race For Us To Run - Hallelujah

I had never heard of this hymn before now, and I couldn't find any information about its background, but I found it as I was looking up some other hymns. It was under the category of  "encouragement for running the race," and is based on Hebrews 12:1-2.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Click on the title below and enjoy listening to it. It has an upbeat and catchy tune. Maybe it will help give you the pep you need to keep running the race for the Lord...

Words:  J.I.
Music:  William A. Ogden

 There’s a race for us to run—Hallelujah,
  And a way for us the race to win.
To all those who have begun—Hallelujah,
  God has spoken, “Look away to Him!”
Look away! O look away!
Look to Jesus now today!
Look away from everything unto Jesus,
Look away from everything to Him!
Look away from all around—Hallelujah,
  Look away from all the strife and din;
Look away where peace is found—Hallelujah,
  Look away from everything to Him.
Look away from fickle soul—Hallelujah,
  Look away from failing self within;
Look away toward the goal—Hallelujah,
  Look away from everything to Him.

Look away from all the past—Hallelujah,
  Look away from both the good and sin;
To the living One hold fast—Hallelujah,
  Look away from everything to Him.

Look away into His face—Hallelujah,
  He who’ll finish what He did begin.
O what grace to run the race—Hallelujah—
  We obtain by looking off to Him!